Andrews injury makes Green favourite to start key Euro double-header
PAUL GREEN is in line to start next month's crunch Euro 2012 qualifiers with Russia and Slovakia after Giovanni Trapattoni admitted that the odds are against Keith Andrews making a recovery.
Trapattoni has named the Blackburn midfielder in his 26-man squad, but is sceptical about his prospects of recovering from a groin problem within the next fortnight. The 30-year-old's return to action has been delayed, and the Irish manager is unsure if the Blackburn man will be back in light training this week.
"I think now, he not play," said Trapattoni yesterday. "Last week he said to me, he need again more time. He hadn't started training yet, so I don't know.
"At the moment, we have enough. Green, Darron Gibson, Glenn Whelan. Also, Keith Fahey. But we wait for him. I think he need again, maybe a week, I don't know when. Sure, we have 15 days."
Green is in pole position to capitalise if the Dubliner is missing. He received mixed reviews for the quality of his contribution in the wins over Armenia and Andorra earlier this month.
However, Trapattoni believes that Green's workrate is appreciated by his team-mates, pointing out that his industry makes life easier for his colleagues.
He drew a comparison with England's 1966 World Cup winner Nobby Stiles, who was renowned for his ability to snap at opponents' heels and break up play.
"He's everywhere," elaborated the Italian, "To help the team-mate. He lose the ball, but he immediately achieve the ball again. It's important pressing against the opponent.
"There is an engineer in team, and there are architects. He gains the ball, wins the ball, and we achieve many balls in this situation. I read in paper that he got only 5 out of 10 against Andorra, when he was one of the best players on the pitch."
There is better news on the injury front for Trapattoni with respect to Damien Duff, who came through 90 minutes for Fulham at the weekend.
Duff missed the opening two qualifiers with a calf complaint, but should be on track for the October encounters.
That will give Trapattoni something of a selection headache, although you suspect that Duff would come straight into the starting XI, meaning the dilemma is whether to retain Aiden McGeady or Liam Lawrence.
Russia's defeat to Slovakia in Moscow last month means that the Aviva Stadium encounter is hugely significant for Dick Advocaat's side. The top seeds could be in deep trouble with a loss in Dublin. "We can leave them well behind," said Trapattoni.